Italian Staple June 2020 – Featuring Paccheri Pasta

If you’ve been waiting on the edge of your seat for this month’s “Italian Food Staple” feature, your wait is finally over. June highlights paccheri pasta, an Italian staple that doubles as comfort food and all the ways it can shine front and center in your next authentic Italian meal. Italy is a country rich in history and much of that history tied to its exquisite cuisine, so let’s start with the paccheri pasta back story and move on to recipes (of course). Let’s talk pasta!

Paccheri Pasta 101

Paccheri is…

If you grew up in an Italian household, you probably already know. For those who might not know the name paccheri pasta, you might be able to visualize it – it’s the one that looks like a wide, short tube. It is commonly smooth (Paccheri Lisci) but can be ridged as well (Paccheri Rigati). Alternative names for the paccheri (pronounced pakkeri) are Maniche di frate, maniche rigate, rigatoni, rigatoncini, bombaroni and tufoli rigati. It is typically made from durum wheat semolina.

The Italian back story…

All Italian foods seem to have their own unique and interesting story, and paccheri pasta is no exception. Paccheri originated in Campania, a region in Southern Italy, yet it features predominantly in Neapolitan cuisine. The origin of the name, paccheri, as a literal translation means “hand,” which is still used in the Italian language to describe an open-handed friendly pat.

Food historians tell a story of an ulterior motive for the pasta that has been described as chopped up garden hoses. As the story goes, paccheri pasta was invented to create a container to smuggle Italian garlic cloves across borders when trade was not acceptable – the region formerly known as Prussia. Italian garlic was more flavorful and, as such, more coveted. Four cloves of Italian garlic could be safely inserted in the paccheri, and the Prussian government never knew the better of it, until its domestic garlic industry finally collapsed. Sneaky, sneaky!

Tips for cooking perfect paccheri pasta…

Start with quality pasta made from 100% semolina wheat from a quality source to ensure it will retain its shape and firmness while cooking. Pasta made in Italy, in general, will be thicker and more flavorful. For al dente pasta, the traditional way to prepare paccheri pasta, you set your timer from the moment the water boils for 11 minutes. You may consider adding olive oil to the water to prevent stickiness. Stay close to your cooking pasta and stir often for best results.

Mouthwatering recipes, yes please…

Paccheri pasta is usually paired with rich heavier sauces or seafood. It can also be stuffed with ricotta or types of cheeses or other ingredients and baked into a casserole-style dish. The options for cooking with paccheri, however, are nearly endless, but of course, we love to daydream about dinner, so let’s check out some yum-worthy recipes.

  • Your vegetarian friends or family members will love this one. Paccheri ai porcini, pesto e pomodori tritati as the Italians like to call it is an easy everyday pasta meal that packs so much flavor. With six simple and healthy ingredients, cooks will love this easy meal too. Just grab your paccheri and add mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, pesto, olive oil and salt and the rest is history.
  • Create an unforgettable pasta dish with these three iconic Italian ingredients. Combine paccheri with ‘nduja, a spicy Italian pork sausage and burrata, a creamy mozzarella, for a hearty pasta dish that stands alone as a flavor powerhouse.
  • Italian comfort equals paccheri with meat sauce. Paccheri pasta served in a simple yet delicious tomato-based sauce with ground beef or veal topped with Parmesan and fresh basil is all you need for an authentic taste of Italy – wherever you hang your hat.

The Flora way…

Flora Fine Foods has built its reputation on bringing authentic Italian foods to the tables of American households. With a passion for quality and flavor, Flora offers a complete line of Italian foods for everything from simple Italian dishes to gourmet fare. Since 1962, Flora has made it its vision to make authentic old world Italian foods to American families.

Of course, we specialize in a wide range of delicious pasta products, including our featured “Italian Staple” for June – paccheri pasta! Flora’s paccheri hails fresh from the fields of Tuscany with all-natural ingredients that never contain preservatives or pesticides. Originating from the Calabria region of Italy, our paccheri is certified organic and non-GMO. We hope it’s what you’re cooking for dinner tonight. (We recommend serving it hot and al dente.)

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